Saturday, August 9, 2014

A few more reasons

The past week has been a healing time for me. I am enjoying reconnecting with people and being reminded of all the goodness in America. They say people who live overseas experience a "honeymoon" period when they return to their home country. And that's exactly how it's been. I go on my daily run and feel so grateful with each breath of air. I eat my breakfast of raspberries (fresh! not frozen), chia seeds, and greek yogurt and it makes me so happy. I start my car (thank you Joe for finding us a winner!) and look forward to driving on the rule-obeyed, orderly, clean roads.

Here are just a few more things, even though they're so very simple, that bring me joy:

1. "Look mom - no worms!" (Charlotte on eating American broccoli)
How strange (but wonderful) it is to NOT have to pick through my broccoli and cauliflower looking for little green worms. And just look how white the cauliflower here is!

2. Greek Yogurt
The last time I found and purchased greek yogurt in Jakarta, I think I paid the equivalent of $5 for one this size:
I found this on sale (oh sales are good too) for less than a dollar a carton. Chobani every day!

3. Lagoon!
We've been on a three year amusement park diet. Yes, we took the kids to water parks in Indonesia, but I steered clear of rides. Too risky. The safety standards in Indonesia were too low (or non-existent) for me to trust having my children ride the big roller coaster rides. So to end our diet, we spent 11 hours at Lagoon amusement park. The kids rode 8 rides in the first hour, and then I stopped counting. Charlotte LOVED the bumper cars and any other "big kid" ride she was tall enough to go on. 

We only had two "incidents" which is pretty good for my family. The first was when I decided I could handle a ride - wrong! By the fifth time around I had to yell to the attendant, "Stop! I'm going to be sick!" I required only one hour of recovery in the car (yes, I earned the lamest mom award!). And the second incident occurred when Charlotte got too scared and once again I had to ask the attendant to "Stop the ride, please!"

The rest of the day was filled with squeals, screams, laughter-to-tears moments, and tons of big roller coasters!

4. Grass
Who knew the grass in America was so soft? It tickles my toes, it cushions my bare feet, it invites me to sit down and linger in the shade, and it smells fresh and clean. Oh American grass! It is one of the best parts of summer.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Top 5 Reasons I'm Glad to Be Home

5. Open Roads and Blue Sky
I drove approximately 80 miles per hour for 5 hours from Centerville, Utah to St. George. No paralyzing traffic. No motorcyles. Just the open roads and the biggest, bluest sky. We rolled down the windows, opened the sunroof in the car, and breathed in the sweetness. 

4. Food
From Grandma's homemade blackberry pie to Cafe Rio salads, the food in America is wonderful. We have treated ourselves to raspberries, blueberries, and peaches daily (a rare and expensive find in Indonesia). I think we've consumed 15 pounds of fresh baby spinach in the past three weeks. We've also enjoyed Sonic milkshakes, Lion House rolls, and Dairy Queen blizzards. America is the land of plenty...especially when it comes to delicious food!

3. Temples
Our closest temple in Jakarta was a four hour flight away in either Hong Kong or Manila, Philippines. How wonderful to see the Utah hills dotted with beautiful white temples. During our first couple days here, we drove to the Bountiful Temple. Charlotte spontaneously started to sing "I love to see the Temple." How very true.
On Sunday morning we went down to Temple Square. Oh my heart! 
To think that Owen and I stood in this exact spot nearly 20 years ago...the beginning of our family!
How wonderful it is to be just minutes from the House of the Lord!

2. Friends
We met enroute. Lisa and her family were driving south to Las Vegas. The kids and I were heading north back to SLC. We met at Cafe Rio in Cedar City for lunch. It was symbolic. This crossroads meeting. She is leaving in just days to move to Japan for three years, and I'm returning home after 3 years abroad. 
The reunion was very sweet indeed.
I'm looking forward to reconnecting with friends who have been so good to my family while we've been away. We've missed you! And we can't wait to start making new memories. 

1. Family!!
My dear sister and THE cutest almost-two-year old ever!
We had the best time running in the rain in Seattle, playing in the sand on Pacific Beach, and enjoying the sun in St. George. How good it is to be on the same continent as my favorite people on earth!

What could possibly be better than family? Family AND FOOD! My cousin Luke is an amazing chef, and he has spoiled us with homemade crepes and homemade donuts. 
Six different glazes to choose from. (I had thirds!) Aunt Connie and Amelia loved the peanut butter chocolate icing.

Yes, it is good to be home.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

What I Miss Most

It has been almost three weeks since I loaded my children, 10 suitcase (50 pounds each), and 5 carry-ons (all over the regulated weight limit) in a Silverbird taxi, rode through the crowded streets for one last time, and said goodbye to Jakarta, Indonesia.

My "radio silence" for the past three weeks is not because I was too busy to write. It was because I couldn't bring myself to write. I was still in mourning.

I finally feel like I can record my thoughts without breaking down into hysterics that might scare my children.

I will keep it simple. 

Here are the top 5 things I will miss most about Jakarta:

5. The Food

Nasi Goreng (fried rice), Gado Gado (Indonesian salad with peanut sauce), Yuli's saute ayam, Soto Ayam (Indonesian chicken soup), mangoes, pineapple, pisang goreng (fried bananas). Yes, there were weeks where we avoided Indonesian food and cooked western-comforts like lasagna and macaroni and cheese. But I will miss the food. The spices. The Hero grocery store (yes, even Hero!) And of course the fresh tropical fruit! 

4. Traveling

I'm not sure what to do with myself to NOT have a future trip on my calendar. I have discovered that I love (as in LOVE!!) traveling, seeing new places, and meeting new people. Australia, Uganda, Bali, France, Italy, Taiwan. The world is an amazing place, and I am so grateful to have seen and experienced a lifetime of travel in the past three years.

3. Jakarta 3rd Ward and the Jakarta Stake
From the thrill of actually finding the right building in the middle of crazy Jakarta to being the ones wearing the translation headphones - how I loved Stake Conference.

And of course the incredible people in my ward:
Oh I will miss these amazing women who taught me so much about service and love!

2. JIS    
I got to work my "Dream Job" for the past two years. I learned from the best of the best how to be a better teacher. I have never felt so appreciated, challenged, and fulfilled. 
I loved my students! 
 I loved my colleagues! (Best AP PLC ever - wow I will miss you Brian and Shana! And Carri Turner - best travel-to-Uganda-partner ever!)

I sobbed when I walked off the JIS campus for the last time. And that's all I can write about that for right now.

1. Yuli
Of all the people, places, and things we've experienced here in Jakarta, it was hardest to say goodbye to Yuli. She was more than an employee. She lived with my family for three years. Yes, she did our laundry and cleaned our house (for which I will miss her tremendously!) and made delicious food. But she also became a member of our family. She loved my children. She picked up Charlotte from Kindergarten every day. She taught me the beauty of living joyfully. The only times I ever saw her sad was when she was worried about someone she loved and when she said goodbye. 

I hope in my life I can learn to live as joyfully as Yuli does. To say we miss Yuli doesn't match the magnitude of the loss we feel to live apart from her. She was cheerfulness incarnate. She was a gift to me and my children. She was the best of Indonesia. 

I am so grateful for the past three years. It has been the best three years of my life.

And that's all I can write, for now.